Maybe We Should Take Some More?
he spoken word introduction to Brother JT’s Maybe We Should Take Some More sets the tone for the album. A mix of voices speak until the key phrase is clearly heard, without any intereference, “the drugs are taking effect.” This sample fades out soon thereafter and is taken over by a Hendrix-esque opening piece, reminiscent of the sound experiments found on each of the Experience's opening songs on their studio albums. This is acid- and we are all in for a wild ride.
Brother JT, the moniker of John Terlesky, evokes the dirty soundscapes of Syd Barrett and the Beatles at their most drug addled. As though he has just come back from India and the great Maharishi, Brother JT songs resemble campfire ditties, with an odd tinge. This tinge is most likely due to the obviously talented production contained on the record. Sounding very close to the four track hum of the Mountain Goats and the sonic inventiveness of the Microphones, Brother JT is able to retain an interest in the song even when it is rather boring, due to the excellent use of panning and interesting effects put on each track. Many of the tracks feature the same sort of instrumentation. A jangly acoustic guitar line, a buzzing synth line underneath, and a simple drum line over the top. On each track there is a garnishing of various different instruments added to the mix: vibraphone, recorder, and frogs.
The production rarely overpowers the songs, however, as each song has an individual character that is allowed to shine through. While some are catchier than others and some have better lyrical content than others, the result is a relatively solid album of songs that sound similar enough to be regarded as an album, but diverse enough to not fall into a homogeneous sludge that some albums do. Instead, an almost shamanistic quality to the album make the songs closer to an experience rather than a record.
It is the shambling quality of the proceedings that give it, at once, a sort of hazy and ritualistic quality. It is as though Brother JT has composed these songs for a religious ceremony, they were accidentally recorded, and sent out to a record company. That’s part of the charm of the record, this very primitiveness of instrumentation and melody- as though we are looking in on something that isn’t quite ready to be shown to the public yet, or was never even intended for it. Lucky for us Brother JT has captured this fleeting glimpse into a strange universe where eastern and western mix into a seething mix of potent acid tinged folk music. But, there are problems with the record. It does suffer from a degree of blandness. While it is obviously attempting to evoke the madness of Barrett's outsider stylings of the late 60s, it reaches into a sort of bland territory in which many of the songs are perhaps weird just for the sake of being weird. This self consciousness prohibits the record from being an essential release, but does not disallow it from being a solid effort. With the right impetus, Brother JT could soon produce something truly mindblowing. Go ahead, Brother JT, take some more. And keep the four track on, while you’re at it.